Chapter 4 – The Elopement Box and the Two’s What-if

 

 


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“Oh my, it’s unusual for you to have a day off around this time, isn’t it?”

“Such things do happen every once in a while.”

 

 

In the early afternoon of a certain day I was simply relaxing, doing nothing in particular.

With me having produced children…wait, that’s not the only reason, but I’m being worked like a horse by Roderich for the development of the earldom, so it shouldn’t pose any problem whatsoever if I treat myself to an occasional day of laziness.

Spotting me dilly dallying around like that, Amalie-san called out to me. Since I was doing nothing in particular at this time of the day, it must have struck her as odd.

“I’m going to brew tea.”

“Oh, please make some for me as well!”

“Okay.”

At that point, Erw showed up, probably because he had some free time just like me. He sat down on a chair in the living room, and after also requesting tea from Amalie-san, he placed something like a small box on the table.

“Erw, what’s this wooden box?”

“Ah, this? Look, isn’t the residential area in the center of Baulburg in the middle of construction?”

“Yes, indeed.”

If you’re asking why I know of this, it’s because I’ve been the one to prepare the ground over there with magic.

“And so, a slightly rich, old guy over there was building a house while also ordering a basement for it, but once the workers dug the hole for the basement, they excavated this box here.”

“Is it some old, valuable artifact?”

“Doesn’t it look like that to you?”

The box brought over by Erw looked like a box with wooden mosaics at first glance, but the mosaics themselves were quite peculiar. It looked like one of those puzzle boxes sold by gift box sellers.

I immediately picked it up and tampered with it, but going by my brief examination, it didn’t appear likely that I’d be able to check the box’s contents easily.

“(How did you open puzzle boxes again?)

I think I got one of those during my childhood and managed to open it, but…even as I tried to slide the box’s surface…it didn’t budge. Maybe I’m using the wrong method?

“It’s got pretty grains, considering how it was excavated from soil. It should have been buried for a fairly long time, so maybe it’s a magic tool?” Amalie-san asked.

“At first I thought so as well, but in the end it was appraised to not be one. I’m told that no mana can be sensed from it at all,” answered Erw.

“If no mana at all can be felt from it, I suppose it’s no magic tool after all.”

Even if a magic tool ran out of mana, its energy source, a mana could still be felt from it, albeit faintly. A magic tool, where you can’t feel any mana whatsoever, is physically impossible. That’s why the guards and Erw didn’t recognize this box as a magic tool.

I think Erw considers it to be no more than the excavation of an unusual toy.

“I’m certainly curious about what’s to be found inside.”

With those words, Amalie-san started to fiddle around with the box next. But, the box didn’t readily reveal its contents.

Maybe I’m just deluding myself into thinking that it can be opened since it resembles a puzzle box while in reality it’s no more than a square wooden block with carvings?

“Wend-kun, it doesn’t look like this can be opened.”

“Maybe it’s just a simple decoration?”

Just as I leaned forward and extended a hand for the box in Amalie-san’s hands, the box’s surface slid to the side, revealing its content.

“”Oh, it’s open!””

Up until all was fine, but then I ended up seeing how the box’s interior consisted of nothing but a jet-black darkness like that of a black hole. At the same time, I sensed a huge amount of mana from it.

“Don’t tell me, this box is…!”

Usually it’d be impossible to not be able to sense any of the mana contained inside a magic tool from outside. For this reason, you’d be able to tell that it’s a magic tool from the faintest traces of mana, even if the magic stone powering the tool had run out many, many years ago.

“A magic tool that can perfectly contain the mana within…”

It looks like a common wood box, but this is actually a sophisticated…dangerous magic tool!

The guards also had magicians among them, but all of those were elementary magicians without any detailed knowledge about magic tools. That’s why they judged this box to be no magic tool.

“Wend-kun?”

“It’s possible for this to be a fairly dangerous magic tool…!”

Oh shit! I got too close to the box!

Black hands extended from within the box’s darkness, grabbing my hand. Even though I tried to wrench my hand free from them in a hurry, the black hands had no substance.

They’re very likely made out of mana that can be seen. They aren’t grabbing my physical body, but the mana contained inside me. Of course it’s impossible to free myself from their hold by normal means then.

I felt how I was was about to be pulled inside the box by a powerful force.

“Wend!”

“Erw! Stay away! Most likely I have no means to oppose being drawn into this box anymore. Hence, you have an important duty to fulfill. You must call my wives, Roderich, Burkhart-san and the others, and explain the situation to them. Especially Burkhart-san with all his experience might know something about this box. It’s very likely that he’ll be able to save me. But, if you’re also pulled into the box, no one to explain the situation will be left anymore.”

“I understand, but even Amalie-san…”

“Erwin-san, I won’t be able to escape anymore either.”

Yep, since Amalie-san has been holding the box, the black hands have grabbed her as well. Amalie-san is no magician, but no human in this world has absolutely no mana. Thus she can’t escape from the black hands either.

“Wend-kun, I’m sorry. I ended up carelessly opening the box…”

“It’d have resulted in the same outcome anyway, if I had continued fiddling with the box.”

Just that I might have opened the box instead. After all, this box had the same way of opening as puzzle boxes.

“Wend!”

“As far as I can tell, it’s not a magic tool that would put our lives at risk. Tell Elise and the others about the situation….”

 

 

“Erwin-san, please take care of the rest.”

Just when we finished speaking, we became unable to resist the black hands any longer. Amalie-san and I were sucked into the box’s black hole while entangled by black hands.

Maybe my wives, Roderich, Burkhart-san, or even Doushi will be able to do something about this.

 

*   *   *

 

“Uugh…”

“Wake up, Milord.”

“Give me another ten minutes…”

“No can do, Milord. Besides, breakfast has already been prepared.”

“Oh! Breakfast!”

“Wend-kun…milord, you sure get up quickly whenever you hear the word breakfast.”

“Well, it’s the breakfast you make for me, Amalie-san.”

“I’m happy to have you say that.”

 

 

This is the Baumeister Knightdom located at the Helmut Kingdom’s southernmost end. My sister-in-law, Amalie-san woke me up in the bedroom of this mansion──it’s nothing as grandiose to describe this house as a mansion though. Having suddenly become the lord of this fief while still young, my days were busy with all kinds of things to do.

It’d be weird to claim my busyness to be the reason, but I’ve got my fair share of problems with waking up. Because of that, Amalie-san usually comes to wake me up.

She’s my, or rather, the Knight Baumeister House’s head maid. Then again, even if I might call her head maid, only Amalie-san and I live in this house. The other maids are old grannies from the fief who commute to do the necessary work in order to earn some money.

Amalie-san directs them as head maid, but the workload in the current Knight Baumeister House is rather limited. In reality, it’s something like a public work project to provide the fief’s population with money they can use. If it’s my care-taking, Amalie-san would be more than enough to handle it.

“Today’s breakfast looks, once again, very delicious. Bon appetit.”

After dressing myself I went to take breakfast in the dining room, but since eating all by myself would be boring, it had become a custom for Amalie-san to eat with me. A maid eating with her lord was exceedingly unlikely to occur in any normal noble house, but if you were to rank the Knight Baumeister House within noble society, it’d probably land on the last rank or close to it. Moreover, only I lived in this mansion anyway, so it wasn’t any problem either way.

The breakfast menu consisted of bread, soup, a salad with wild edible plants and veggies, scrambled guinea fowl eggs, boar bacon, tea, and sliced fruits.

“The fowl eggs are rich in flavor and delicious, aren’t they? Back at home, I could enjoy their taste only very rarely. They’re expensive when bought and we couldn’t easily catch them ourselves. Wend-kun, you’re truly incredible.”

“It’s because I can use magic.”

Why am I, the family head of a noble house, eating breakfast with my sister-in-law whom I’m treating as head maid? The answer lay in me succeeding my father as eighth son of a rural noble family with its fief located in the sticks.

Why did the eighth son become the lord despite there being seven older brothers? That’s because a plague had ravaged the Baumeister Knightdom, taking a heavy toll on its inhabitants. The casualties were especially bad within the Baumeister family. Or to be precise, Amalie-san and I were the sole survivors.

All residents of the fief having gathered for the wedding ceremony between Kurt-niisan, who should have inherited the fief originally, and Amalie-san actually had a big impact on the plague’s damage. A retainer of the Mainbach family, who had accompanied Amalie-san as bride-to-be, had contracted the disease earlier, resulting in the plague quickly spreading among those participating in the ceremony.

Back then, I had only awoken to my magic gift. Of course I couldn’t use healing magic──it’s not that I couldn’t use it at all, it just showed no effect against the disease──and so I had no choice but to nurse the sick based on my knowledge from my previous life, but I couldn’t avoid many people dying from it nonetheless.

The elderly priest, who luckily hadn’t contracted the disease, created a medicine out of medical plants, but it was only able to soften the symptoms. Even so, it was still a huge achievement.

In the end more than a hundred people died from the disease. The number of casualties were exceptionally high among the families who showed symptoms early on after being close to the initial disease carrier. Amalie-san, whose husband collapsed after being immediately attacked by the disease after finishing the ceremony, had no time to experience anything resembling a newly-married life.

She nursed the family to the brink of exhaustion together with me, but we couldn’t prevent Kurt-niisan’s death. But he wasn’t the only loss. Erich-niisan, who was supposed to leave the knightdom after the wedding, also passed away, which hit me hard.

And because of all this, I couldn’t remain the lonewolf, who didn’t care about family matters, any longer. Without any time to sort my feelings, I was forced to become the next family head of the Knight Baumeister House.

As a matter of fact, the sixth son Walter and the seventh son Karl survived as well, but they were the children of Layla, the mistress of father and daughter of a village chief. Unable to become heirs, Walter had married into the Junior Commander’s family while Karl succeeded the village chief’s family.

And thus I became the lord of the land at a tender age of six years.

Fortunately, Master taught me about magic before the marriage ceremony, so I used 『Flight』 while still a kid and reported the situation to the Knight Baumeister House’s patron, Margrave Breithilde. He told me, 『Wendelin-kun…no, Lord Baumeister, I’ll become your guardian』 while looking up the sky, which became a big help for me.

After all of this went down, I focused on the development of the fief as lord.

Be that as it may, it was a salvation that I had the memories from my previous life. No matter how intelligent a child might be, being a feudal lord at an age of six is impossible. Then again, the question whether Ichinomiya Shingo is suited to be the new feudal lord is written on another piece of paper.

『I shall assist you with the ruling of your fief until you become a full-fledged adult, Wendelin-sama』

Another big help was Klaus having a talent as a civil official. While making him my household manager and entrusting the rule of the territory to him, I worked my ass off by hunting game, cultivating new land, expanding fields and paddy fields, and digging irrigation channels with my magic.

For me this counted as magic training and for the residents it meant bigger fields, allowing them to give their children a job without having to send them away as it was done before that. Because of that, a portion of the children, who had left in the past, even came back, and in addition, Margrave Breithilde also sent over immigrants across the mountains.

『A walk of more than a month is necessary to cross the Rieck Mountain Range, but if you immigrate into the Baumeister Knightdom, you’ll be given big patches of new cultivated land』

People gathered as rumors caused even more rumors, resulting in the population decline due to the plague recovering over a short period. Actually, things turned around instead, and thanks to a baby boom and the immigrants, our population kept growing.

I proceeded with the development of the fief, succeeding in expanding our territory tenfold from the time before my father passed away.

In reality, all of the southern lands are part of the Baumeister Knightdom, but we couldn’t develop them until now. The instant I inherited the peerage and fief, the expansion of the territory exploded.

Though, it’s rather sarcastic, to be honest.

 

 

◆◇◆

 

 

“That was delicious.”

“I’m happy that you enjoyed it. Wend-kun, what are your plans today…ah nevermind, I guess it’s pointless to ask.”

“Hunting animals, expanding human land, preparing the newly gained land, building roads, and expanding the fields and irrigation channels.”

However, I plan to finish up in the morning for today. Since Klaus has brought over a written report, I intend to check that and take a rest thereafter.

It’s been eight years since I’ve become the lord. Having become fourteen years old, I’ve been working almost nonstop.

But, since Klaus was worried about me as might be expected, it’s reached the point that I regularly get to rest in the style of taking half a day off. But, this is inevitable.

The animals in the Savage Lands are huge and ferocious, albeit not as much as monsters. If we ease up on culling them, they immediately start invading human dwellings.

Walter-niisan has been hunting with the territory’s hunters and brawny youths, but if they were to get injured after pushing themselves too much, we’d run out of our labor force quickly. Hence it’s indispensable for me, who can use magic, to threaten the animals every day, telling them to stay away from human land.

This is one of the reasons why Dad was unmotivated in expanding the territory himself.

“Okay, I’m off then, Amalie-san.”

“Take care, Wend-kun.”

After being seen off by Amalie-san, I flew to the southernmost end of the Baumeister Knightdom.

“They’re here, aren’t they…?”

Even though I hunted lots yesterday, another huge batch is trying to push in again. I let several stones float up from the ground and shot them at the animals like bullets. The stone bullets penetrate the animals, not leaving a single one alive within my visual field.

“And that’s that.”

Repeating this at several places, I made sure that no animals entered my fief. I stored the dead animals away in my magic bag and brought them to a building within the territory.

“Milord, today you’ve caught another big batch, haven’t you?”

“Take care of them.”

“Please leave it to us.”

The animals were dismantled in this building. Their meat and intestines would be distributed to the fief’s population as food, and the furs would end up in my bag once more after getting tanned. Then I’d sell them off at Breitburg once a month.

Distributing the meat and intestines to the residents was a relief measure for the immigrants who wouldn’t have enough to eat until the harvest.

In Klaus’s eyes I’m too soft-hearted with them, but since we’ve prepared the fields in perfect condition for the immigrants, I plan to fully tax them starting with the first year.

According to Klaus, a fixed percentage of sloths, thugs, and uncooperative folks seems to have blended in among the immigrants. Hence we adopted the measure of mercilessly exiling those who didn’t work on the fields while only enjoying the meat provided by me. However, given that Klaus was the one enforcing this policy, he was feared by the new immigrants. Meanwhile, I was evaluated to be a kind lord.

“Sorry, Klaus.”

“What might you be talking about, milord?”

“I ended up pushing a poor job on you.”

After leaving the dismantling station, I went back to my mansion and read Klaus’s report. Dad and Kurt-niisan apparently didn’t read them, but no matter how superb Klaus might be, if I don’t hold the reins as lord, Klaus might get wrong ideas in the future. It was necessary for both of us to be on our toes.

“This much is nothing that I would consider trouble. When we suffered many casualties due to the plague, I was devastated, thinking that this might be the end for the Baumeister Knightdom. But, thanks to you, Wendelin-sama, the knightdom not only recovered, but actually went through a great expansion. Brightness has returned to the faces of the people, too. As someone who has repeatedly escaped death, I never expected to be allowed to enjoy my remaining years in such happiness.”

“Klaus, you aren’t that old yet, are you?”

“I do not plan on dying anytime soon. Still, the Baumeister Knightdom has found a nice balance with the lord being liked for his kindness and me being hated for my harshness. If we are too lenient, even the people, who have reached this state after having been poor until recently, will grow impudent. That is one of the dreadful parts of humans.”

I can’t win against Klaus in experience when it comes to such matters. But, he’s right. A territory won’t work well if its leader is too lenient all the time.

“Wendelin-sama, you have been kind enough to closely read my reports and point out everything that needs clearing or correction. As the one writing those reports, I feel it is worthwhile with you paying so much attention to them.”

Kanji have been mixed in among the reports. For Dad and Kurt-niisan…

If only I could have kept Erich-niisan alive… In that case, I wouldn’t have needed to become the lord, would I?

“By the way, on another topic…”

“…”

At the end Klaus brought up a topic that caused me to brood for a bit, but it was nothing that required immediate action. I went on my half-day vacation for the first time in a week.

“Here. Today’s snack is honey tart.”

There existed no entertainment in the knightdom as it’s located in the sticks. During the sparse free time, we would set up chairs and a table in the maintained garden, and I’d chat there with Amalie-san while enjoying the sweets and tea prepared by her. Or alternatively, we’d go fishing. Those two were the activities covering most of my vacations.

“Wend-kun, next year you’ll become an adult, won’t you?”

“Now that you mention it, that’s true.”

It’s been nine years since I came to this world. I’ve been frantically developing the knightdom, but Wendelin’s body is soon going to turn adult, huh…?

“Once you become an adult, you must go to the capital and officially succeed in the peerage.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Me having been inaugurated as lord at an age of six stemmed from Margrave Breithilde apparently having reported to the king that the fief’s population would be in distress if I was gone. Thus it was decided that the formal ceremony would be held once I became an adult.

And once that’s over, I must marry. Marrying at fifteen is fast…is what I believe, but that’s because I’m not a person from this world to begin with. As far as the kingdom’s bigshots and Margrave Breithilde are concerned, they apparently want me to marry right away, if possible. After all, the Baumeister Knightdom would be in trouble if I suddenly passed away. And as long as I have children, all will be fine by assigning one of them as next family head to keep the knightdom together.

“That’s why I’d like you to become an adult as fast as possible.” Such was Margrave Breithilde’s unusually unreasonable demand the other day. But, Margrave Breithilde is smart enough to know that my birthday won’t simply change.

In other words, it’s proof of his impatience.

“The small Wend-kun is going to marry soon, huh…? I’ve grown old, haven’t I?”

The reason why Amalie-san, who lost her husband to the plague right after marrying, remained in the Baumeister Knightdom lay in her being regarded as a family member of the Baumeisters since she finished the official wedding ceremony. Her having been told by her family to never come back home as 『no marriage partners exist for an ill-omened woman』 is yet another reason.

Even though the plague carrier had been the retainer who accompanied Amalie-san, the Mai family didn’t want to hear any of it. Currently Amalie-san is 25 years old. That’s an age where it wouldn’t be strange for her to be unmarried in Japan, but in this world she was regarded as a woman who had missed her chance to marry.

“I wonder what kind of wife is going to come. Ah, but, it might be better for me to leave this mansion then. Otherwise, your wife might feel awkward.”

“You don’t need to worry about that. As long as you wish to stay here, you can stay for as long as you want. Besides, is there any need for me to force myself into marrying a noble’s daughter whom I don’t even know?”

No matter how much we might have developed this territory over the last year, it’s still a remote area at the southern end of the kingdom. Whether a noble’s daughter could get used to living here…

“Wend-kun, you’re the family head of the Baumeister Knight House. It’s only normal for you to welcome a wife from another noble house.”

“Is that so…?”

Since I’m a noble, I can only marry the daughter of another noble. At least, as a legal wife I can…no, wait!

“Then all will be fine if you become my wife, Amalie-san!”

“M-Me!? No, I’m no good!”

“But, Amalie-san, you’re the daughter of the Knight Mainbach House.”

She’s perfectly fitting the criterion. In that case, there shouldn’t be any issue with me marrying her.

“Think about the difference in age between us! Besides, I’ve always been like a big sister for you…”

“It’d be a problem if you were my real sister, but we aren’t connected by blood, are we? Hence, it’s not an issue.”

“But, you see…”

“Do you hate the idea, Amalie-san?”

“…Not in the slightest…rather, I’m very happy about it, but…”

“Then let’s go through with it. You’ll be my wife. I’ll also persuade Margrave Breithilde.”

“…Aww, Wend-kun, you’re so pushy.”

“This territory won’t work without me. And this is my wish.”

“Thanks. I’ll be able to always live with you like this.”

I’m also very happy. Even Amalie-san is a noble lady. And anyway, there shouldn’t exist any high-ranking nobles who would concern themselves about the wife of a noble who rules the southernmost rural territory.

Just like now, I plan to spend a nice life with Amalie-san in the Baumeister Knightdom.

 

*   *   *

 

…*Craaack!*

“Hii! Elise-jou-cha…-san?”

“Oh dear, it looks like this tea cup has already passed its service life. I must buy a new one…”

“Elise, cups do not break so easily. This happening thanks to grip strength is……something that happens all the time!”

“Say, Erw, what’s this about? Even a gentle person like me would become upset.”

“Why are such a retard to carelessly bring in something weird?”

“On your knees!”

“Yeeesh!”

“Haruka-san, please be kind enough to thoroughly teach Erwin-san how to perform a formal seiza.”

“As you wish!”

“A husband’s failure is also the wife’s responsibility.”

“I wonder, would Toshiro have judged it to be no magic tool because of a quick appraisal? What do you think, Big Sis?”

“It’s the height of thoughtlessness. We must strictly educate the guards. Right, Roderich-san?”

“Yes! It is just as you say, Lisa-sama!”

“Sensei! He’s inside this small box…but, he looks happy.”

“A───ww, I’d love to go inside with him.”

“Cindy, I believe everyone is secretly thinking the same.”

 

◆◇◆

 

~ Burkhart’s PoV ~

 

Things turned into a total mess. Damn, that stupid Erw lad! Moreover, the guard unit is to blame as well, I s’pose.

While it might have been true that there was no mana reaction from that excavated box, it’s the height of stupidity to arbitrarily flag it to be no magic tool. They should have known that items, where you can’t detect any mana, exist among the magic tools of the Ancient Magic Civilization…

Furthermore, Earl-sama tampered with that box and ended up opening it. As a result of that, he’s now making out with Amalie-san inside that box, that lucky bastard.

If you ask why we can see what’s going on inside the box, it’d be owed to the magic tool that Beckenbauer brought over after getting my message. Once he connected the box with the crystal ball of a special device through a cord, the ball started to display the other world inside the box.

For a while now, Elise has been really pissed as she watched the scenes displayed by the crystal ball. She’s still smiling as usual, but the cup in her hand developed cracks, and seeing how even Doushi drew back from her, she must be quite upset.

“Okay, I see the actual item for the first time in 42 years, but the effect of the 『Elopement Box』 is truly amazing. That’s going to become great data, but…,” Beckenbauer coughed unnaturally, “…we must get the two out of the box as quickly as possible!”

That freak immediately had his curiosity as a researcher going at full throttle. But listen dude, if you start babbling such stuff, you won’t be able to complain even if you get beaten up by Elise and the other women over this and the case from the other day.

“Burkhart-sama, what do sensei and Amalie-san mean in these pictures? Sensei hasn’t become the heir of the Knight Baumeister House, has he?”

“To summarize it, you could call this a device that lets you experience a sort of fake world. The details…”

“So it’s my turn as someone well-acquainted with magic tools, huh?”

When I looked at Beckenbauer’s face while explaining things to Agnes-jou-chan, he continued the explanation in my stead. This guy hasn’t a clue how to read the atmosphere, but right now he’s become useful for the very first time as I’ll get him to deal with all of the anger by Agnes-jou-chan and the other girls.

“This magic tool is called 『Elopement Box』. It’s a creation by the famous Countess Ishlbarg. 1 The inside of this box is linked to another dimension, and by opening it, the two have started a fake life in that dimension. The world inside the box has been adjusted into something very convenient for its two captives in order to let them easily build a good relationship. The box used their memories as basis for forming this world.”

Given that the world attempted to be as accommodating for the two as possible, Earl-sama’s family had died to a plague and Amalie-san became a widow without experiencing her bridal night, despite having married Kurt.

Earl-sama──calling him Earl-sama under these circumstances is weird, but since it’d be too much of a chore to change it, I’ll leave it at that──has become the family head of the Knight Baumeister House at an early age, and was continuing his best to develop the territory. Meanwhile, Amalie-san was taking care of him as a big sister substitute. Their relationship gradually deepened, before Earl-sama finally proposed to Amalie-san.

Well, it’s only natural for Elise and Earl-sama’s other wives to get pissed off.

“Sheesh, Wend, you’re so silly. Do you like your sister-in-law so much? Ina-chan has been reading books to you every once in a while as well. I wonder whether I could come across as a sister-in-law for you?”

“Luise, right now is not the time to come up with such things…Beckenbauer-san, don’t Wend and Amalie-san feel that something is out of place inside the box?” Ina immediately asked Beckenbauer while keeping her calm.

“That’s the scary part of the Elopement Box. Once they got locked up in the special dimension of the box, their memories were altered in order to match the world. They won’t feel anything unnatural about the world they live in.”

In short, Earl-sama and Amalie-san haven’t even realized that they’re currently in a world created by the box.

“So, what’s going to happen after this?”

“According to an old report about this mysterious magic tool, you can stay at most one month inside an Elopement Box. Since it’s a rare item that has been excavated once in several hundred years, only ancient documents are left, but all of them state that couples will have a very deep relationship after coming out of the box.”

“Makes sense. I mean they’ll have spent a month in a world catered towards their relationship.”

“Burkhart, the flow of time inside the box differs from the real world. In reality, they’ll have spent many years together. Moreover, while being extremely close to each other. Of course, both will immediately realize that the world inside the box hasn’t been reality once they leave it. But, thanks to the years spent inside the box, they’ll become so intimate with each other that they’ll be inseparable. Or am I wrong?”

“Why did the Ancient Magic Civilization create such a magic tool?”

Wilma questioned the reason for the box’s existence. It’s something I’d like to know as well.

“This was an item catered towards nobles. Countess Ishlbarg apparently created it after receiving a custom order.”

“Maybe it’s for the sake of becoming close to the one on your mind?”

“No, it has a much more serious reason, violet wife.”

“Who is a violet wife!?”

Beckenbauer, as always you…can’t remember the names of those who don’t interest you.

I heard he got himself slapped in the face for calling Therese-sama and Agnes’s trio mistresses the other day. Even though she looks like this, Katharina is a proper noble, so…

“During the closing years of the Ancient Magic Civilization’s era, it had become proscribed in society to marry several wives.”

“I don’t understand the meaning of that? What did they do if the house ceased to exist because of it?”

Well, nobles fuss over the continuous existence of their houses…that’s why it’s normal for them to marry several wives in preparation for all eventualities.

“All I know is that their society handled it like that. Anyway, for a noble family it was important for the married couple to become intimate and properly give birth to children.”

“And that’s where this magic tool, which would force the couple to become intimate, comes into play, huh? It does make sense in a way. Thou could even argue that they did well to have created such a magic tool.”

“Former Duchess Philip, they’re assessed as Ancient Magic Civilization exactly because they could make such sophisticated magic tools. And Countess Ishlbarg was an outstanding genius even within that highly advanced civilization.”

“Umm…you refer to Therese-san as 『Former Duchess Philip』, so why do you call me, the present Associate Baroness Waigel, 『Violet Wife』?”

“So, this magic tool is…”

“At least do me the favor of not ignoring me!”

Katharina-jou-chan, this guy has always been like that. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to bother with each and every little thing he says. You should ignore his antics.

“In other words, will those two become very close if they come out of the box after a month?”

“That’s how it is, Twintail Wife.”

“…”

Now listen…at least call them by name! You’ve completely shocked Katia with this!

“Isn’t that kinda bad?”

“Yes, it’s very dangerous.”

“Really? Aren’t you overthinking things too much, Katia, Lisa? It’d be an issue if they stayed there for eternity, but if it’s one month, it should be no problem…”

“Ina-sama! It is a huge problem!”

Well, Roderich has been pushing around Earl-sama as he pleased to develop the Baumeister Earldom, so it’s only natural for him to kick up a fuss over Earl-sama’s month-long absence…

“Roderich-san, we don’t have any method to get Wend out of the box, so it’s not like we can do anything about it.”

She’s right. At present we don’t have a means to get Earl-sama out of there within a month.

“So, what are you fearing to happen, Lisa, Katia?”

“Amalie-san’s official position in the Baumeister House is that of a Head Maid, but isn’t she actually treated like a wife just like us?” Katia asked.

“Isn’t that the common consensus among everyone?”

Amalie had been saved by Earl-sama when she lost her standing as nobility after the crimes of her husband. As a kindliness such as her children becoming nobles after they grew up into adults would require a miracle, she offered herself to Earl-sama.

Nobles would come to terms with such a story due to their usual customs and styles, but it was an open secret in the Baumeister House that Earl-sama loved his sister-in-law a lot and that Amalie wasn’t against loving her younger brother-in-law either.

“The idea that those would happily spend years together inside that box makes me think that it’d be better to get them out of there as soon as possible.”

“Lisa-san?”

“Ina-san, please try to imagine those two after they leave the box.”

“Imagine…ah!”

Ina apparently realized Lisa’s worry. And so did I.

In short, it’s very likely that it’ll turn out as follows:

『Wend! Why are you spending all your time with Amalie-san while not caring about us a bit anymore!?』

『Even if you tell me that…Amalie-san and I are deeply bound in body and mind, you see? Right, Amalie-san?』

『Ina-san, forgive me. Wend-kun has said that he only needs me, so…』

『Amalie-san』

『Here, have another serving of tea』

『Oh, it’s my favorite tea in perfect brewing. Nothing less of you, Amalie-san』

『Elise and the others are all lonely as well… Look, we’ve been thinking that we’d want a second child soon…you might consider me as lacking modesty if I say something like that, but you haven’t called any of us to your bedroom for a good while now…』

『Friedrich and the other children are growing up nicely, so there’s no problem with that, is there? It’s not unusual for earls to have less children than I do…besides, you don’t need to fret. Amalie-san will give birth to my children』

『I’m already at an advanced age, so…』

『You’re still plenty young. My mother was above forty when she gave birth to me. Besides, recently we’ve been going every night at it, so I’m sure you’ll become pregnant soon』

『Aww, don’t say such embarrassing things, Wend-kun』

『Umm…』

『Ina, I won’t do anything as silly as divorcing my wives. That’s why you can publicly conduct yourself as my wives. But, the only one I really love is Amalie-san』

『Wend-kun…』

『Ina, that’s how it is』

Yeah…it’s not like I’ve accumulated experience over my many years for show either. Still, me ending up imagining all this go down so easily is somehow saddening.

In other words, this box has the potential…to destroy the Baumeister House. So this box was a hellish magic tool that leads to very cold marital relationships.

I see. I’ve finally grasped why a magic tool that makes young couples love each other is referred to as 『Elopement Box』.

If two people, who have absolutely nothing to do with each other, are pulled into that box, they’ll be in love with each other once they leave the box…if one or both are married, it’ll eventually lead to elopement.

So it was Countess Ishlbarg’s sense of humor to add a twist to things with such a naming, huh…?

“My legs have become totally numb…haven’t I sat in seiza long enough…?”

“Erwin, hold out a bit longer.”

In the first place, it was you who brought this thing into the mansion… Shouldn’t you be glad that you can resolve this with nothing but sitting in seiza?

“(Elise and the others are probably close to flipping out, not to mention their nervousness, so be quiet and sit in seiza. That’s the safest for you right now)”

“Burkhart-san, that’s way too…I’ll sit in seiza, no problem!”

Elise and the other wives, who could predict a future of Earl-sama loving only Amalie thanks to the box, all pressed Beckenbauer for information about the box. Their intensity, coupled with their big number, was scary enough to make even Doushi flinch away.

“Beckenbauer-san, we cannot wait for a month. Please come up with a method to get Wendelin-sama and Amalie-san out of that box at once.”

“I think sometimes it’s necessary to wait. Even if the box is a magic tool, it’s still a precious research sample. Observing how it operates is necessary for evolving magic tools in the future, I believe. Sacrifices are essential for rese…hiii!”

“Beckenbauer-san, we are asking you to get Wendelin-sama and Amalie-san out of that box as soon as possible. It is a common wish shared by all wives of Earl Baumeister. Do you understand?”

Elise and the other women were smiling, but their smiles didn’t reach their eyes.

Beckenbauer, you moron! There’s like no way that you’d be able to research the box under these circumstances, man! Get Earl-sama and Amalie out of there as soon as possible, and just accept the rest of the box, even if it’s scraps. Even that will be plenty as research material, right?

“So, how about it? I’d like to know how it’d be possible.”

“I’ve read that the box will be broken if you strike it powerfully, even without a month passing.”

“But, wouldn’t that be dangerous for Wend and Amalie-san?”

As expected of her, Ina remains composed at such times and always puts her worry over Earl-sama first.

“It’s not like the other dimension is situated inside the box. Ultimately it’s only connecting to the other dimension as a gateway. If the outside comes in contact with the box’s inside for the slightest fraction of amount, it’ll become impossible to maintain that connection and the two will be able to return to their former world, I expect. The old documents state the same.”

Losing against the force of Elise’s group, Beckenbauer started to spill information about the box.

In other words, you just have to physically destroy the box, huh?

“But…”

“But what?”

That might have some kind of catch, though. If things could be resolved by simply destroying the box, it wouldn’t be regarded as dangerous as it has been.

“You won’t be able to break the box so easily.”

“Seeing how it’s a wooden box, you just need to burn it with magic, no? I’ve understood it as Wendelin-san and Amalie-san not getting broiled up in the fire, even if we do it like that.”

“At any rate, you have to destroy the box to expose the inside for it to be exposed to the outside world. No matter what method you use to destroy it, it won’t have any effect on the people inside, but please remember that it’s a legacy of the Ancient Magic Civilization. It’s no ordinary box. It won’t break from weak attacks, and since all efforts might end up becoming fruitless struggles, I’m telling you that it’d be better to wait for a month.”

“Wouldn’t it be unfair for only Amalie-san to be loved in such a case!? Are thee going to take responsibility, if we’re going to be treated as unnecessary women?”

For even Therese-sama to go this far…you might say this or that about him, but Earl-sama is really amazing, after all. At the same time, you cannot take his bad luck lightly, seeing how he got imprisoned in a weird box by chance.

“Responsibility?”

“It’s just as Therese says. Us wives should be loved equally, and hubby has been putting that in practice, too.”

“Indeed. Waiting a month like this will give birth to feelings of unfairness, and it’ll very likely affect our future relationship in a bad way.”

“So what do you want me to do then?”

Beckenbauer, you’re truly thick-headed when it counts…

“Elise, we can do it with this lineup.”

“It’d be best to do away with that box, yep.”

Katia-jou-chan and Lisa insisted as well. They seem completely gung-ho about breaking the box, proposing it to Elise.

“You are right. It is the highest priority to destroy the box if it is something that can be destroyed.”

“But, dear wives, keeping the box intact as much as possible…as research material, and occasionally enduring as nobles for the sake of the future magic tool development…”

“(Beckenbauer, you’re an utter fool!)”

That’s something you should avoid saying right now the most!

“Is it not much more disadvantageous for Wendelin-sama to be locked away for a month? Lately, magic engineering has not advanced much, but the Baumeister Earldom is developing at an accelerated rate thanks to Wendelin-sama.”

“You’re totally right. Even if the sorcery guild were to analyze the box, the most they’d be able to gain out of it would be a magic circle to summon the underwear of other people.”

“As long as Wend is around, the Baumeister Earldom will definitely develop. Even if we’re told by a researcher, who can only make magic circles to summon underwear, that he’s going to use the box for research…”

“In short, he’s a useless dunce.”

“Ughh!”

Look, now you see what you got yourself into. Aren’t you getting totally trash-talked while having used past incidents against you? All of them are on the brink of possibly not being loved by Earl-sama any longer, so it’d be in your own interest to make do with the box’s scraps here.

“I got it…but let me tell you in advance: you won’t be able to put a single scratch on the box unless you hit it with some abnormal power. That’s why I’m telling you to wait for a month.”

 

◆◇◆

 

“I cannot approve of that! For Wendelin-san and Amalie-san to happily make out together inside the box is too enviable… Anyway! It’s too unfair!”

“Fairness is important. Otherwise it’ll immediately become a source for friction within the family.”

“Once that happens, things will become really awkward in the family and I’d totally hate that.”

“Many noble houses have such issues. And it’s the nice part of the Baumeister House to have been exempted from this thus far.”

“So, are you still going to tell us to wait for a month, Beckenbauer-san?”

“…I don’t mind either way, but…my magic won’t be enough to even scratch that thing. After all, it’s a masterpiece of the famous Countess Ishlbarg.”

He must have gotten cold feet from Elise’s smile. At last, Beckenbauer has agreed with the destruction of the box.

“So it needs high offensive power, you say…? I am specialized in healing magic, so I will not be of much assistance here. Though I would not mind using 『Overheal』 if it is useful in this situation…”

“This box is made out of wood, but it’s not wood of a 『tree』. It won’t have any effect.”

For heaven’s sake, Beckenbauer, please don’t be so blunt about everything. Show some moderation.

“In that case, how about the 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』 of my dear Uncle?”

“Me? So finally my turn has come!”

Even though a fairly serious discussion had been going on so far, Doushi had been stuffing his cheeks with the sweets and washing it all down with tea, but it looked like he had expected for his turn to come from the very start.

He stood up straight, and went out to the garden while carrying the box.

“Doushi?”

“I need a spot with lots of space! I will split this box in two by hitting it with all my might!”

“I’d really like you to avoid splitting it in halves, if possible…considering it as a research object…”

Beckenbauer, just give up on it. In the first place, this box isn’t your property anyway, right…?

“Very well, I will go to Baulburg’s outskirts! The next time you see me, this box will be split in two!”

“Nothing less of you, dear Uncle.”

“Leave it to me, Elise!”

Leaving those words behind, Doushi flew off to Baulburg’s outskirts with 『High-Speed Flight』.

“It should be alright if it’s Doushi.”

“He might be the strongest in the world when it comes to offensive abilities.”

While seeing off Doushi, Ina and Luise revealed relief on their faces.

But you know…I’ve really got a bad feeling about this based on my intuition as a veteran… Though it’d be great if it’s just my imagination.

 

◆◇◆

 

“N-No way…unbelievable…”

“Uncle?”

“I am already out of mana…but I only managed to scratch the box a bit.”

“Ee───h! Even someone as strong as you, Doushi!?”

“You can see a scratch and some scorching on the box.”

“Is this really made out of wood?”

 

My bad premonition came true. As soon as we headed over to the outskirts at great haste, we found Doushi lying sprawled in the grassland, panting heavily while having already canceled his 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』 because he ran out of mana.

And the box in question only had a little scratch. Given that it had some burned parts as well, he must have tried using a fire pillar spell on it as well.

“Even Doushi-sama was only able to damage the box with such a little scratch. What a terrifying magic tool.”

Naturally, seeing how Doushi, whose mana is on par with Earl-sama’s, continued to attack the box until he had no mana left. It’s no wonder for Katharina-jou-chan to be surprised.

“Oooh! Isn’t this magnificent!? It’s just as the ancient documents write! If I research this box, I might be able to create a magic tool with a durability exceeding metal by far while using wood! How wonderful…ahem.”

Just Beckenbauer alone was unable to read the mood and danced around in joy after confirming the box’s sturdiness, but he immediately fell silent after feeling the stares of Elise and the others on himself.

“Elise-san, what are we going to do about this?”

“Even though it is no more than a small scratch, it is still a first step towards saving Wendelin-sama. As long as we manage to enlarge that scratch, it should lead to a hole which will connect the interior with the outside.”

“That makes sense! Alright!”

“We’ll need precise attacks! I’ll also have a go at it!”

“I’m really good at this,” Katia joined in.

“One slash with my battleax,” Wilma chimed in.

“It’d be best to widen the scratch with a very dense 『Wind Cutter』 instead of using fire magic.”

“Hmm, I think thine idea is feasible, Lisa. I’ll do my best as well.”

Afterwards, under the command of Elise, Ina-jou-chan widened the scratch with a blow of her spear after charging it with mana, Luise-jou-chan used gloves with claws for a change, Wilma swung her battleax down on the box’s scratch, Katia used her twin swords, and Lisa, Therese, and Katharina showered the scratch with powerful 『Wind Cutters』.

“I’ll definitely help out with the magic taught to us by sensei!”

“Focus…focus…”

“If I succeed in rescuing sensei…ehehe…”

Agnes-jou-chan, Betty-jou-chan, and Cindy-jou-chan sure are gung-ho about this…but it was in vain…

The total amount of mana slapped against the box should have been more than enough to easily eradicate a small town, but the scratch only widened a bit while also becoming slightly deeper. That thing is terribly tough, seriously.

“It’s almost as if you’re fighting against the bond between Earl Baumeister-dono and the woman called Amalie…at this rate, you’ll need to do your best for one more week.”

“””””””””””…”””””””””””

It seems possible to break the box, but I guess it’ll take around that much time after all. Or rather, Beckenbauer, can’t you shut your trap until this whole matter has been resolved?

 

*   *   *

 

“Do thee, Wendelin von Benno Baumeister, swear to love thine wife Amalie for the rest of thine life?”

“Yes, I swear.”

“Do thee, Amalie, swear to love thine husband Wendelin von Benno Baumeister for the rest of thine life?”

“Yes, I swear.”

“Then please seal the vow with a kiss.”

 

On the day I turned fifteen years old, I held my wedding with Amalie-san in the Baumeister Knightdom’s church. Almost all of the fief’s population had gathered on this day to celebrate the wedding with us.

It’s good that I had gathered lots of prey and food in advance for the after-party. I also distilled great quantities of liquor with my magic. Magis sure is handy to have for times like these.

At the moment, my relatives and the village’s women were preparing all the food I had gathered in preparation to treat everyone to a feast. Even though the possibility of enjoying a feast certainly plays a role as well, I think the people are celebrating our wedding from the bottom of their hearts.

“Milord, Amalie-sama, congratulations on your marriage. I have been allowed to extend the celebratory greetings as representative of all residents.”

“Thanks, Klaus.”

“Thank you, Klaus-san.”

In reality, there’s quite an age gap between Amalie-san and me, so I thought that Klaus would oppose the marriage as a realist, but while looking at Amalie-san’s belly, his face is beaming with heartfelt happiness.

“It looks like the Knight Baumeister House’s heir is going to be born very soon. As a realist, I welcome this marriage very much.”

What a strange way to put it. Amalie-san and I entered this kind of relationship before I became fifteen years old and before we got officially married, so you could call it a shotgun wedding, but Klaus blessed us the most despite having a character which would make it very likely for him to nitpick about it.

It appears like he doesn’t see much of a problem with her getting pregnant before the marriage in comparison to the fact of the birth of an heir.

I see. Klaus is more pragmatic than anyone else in this place.

“Amalie-sama, I would love to see you give birth to heaps of children. Otherwise, I will be forced to recommend other women to His Lordship due to my position…”

“It’s okay. I’ll keep giving birth.”

Even if he’s mentioning other women…I’m not really interested. I’ll be fine as long as I can lead a peaceful, happy life with Amalie-san alone.

“As a matter of fact, Margrave Breithilde-sama is not as gentle as he may seem either. It will be a bad idea to show him any openings.”

At the end of Klaus’s line of sight stood two girls. Because of the knightdom’s geographical locations, it was difficult for other nobles to participate in wedding ceremonies held over here. And yet Margrave Breithilde sent the daughters of his vassals, who are said to be adventurers, as his representatives. They’re called Ina and Luise.

“That’s his intention?”

“Since they are his vassals’ daughters and adventurers, it might be just right for them to live in the Baumeister Knightdom. After all, a noble daughter with strangely high pride would find it hard to live in a place like this.”

So that’s why his vassals’ daughters who can also work as adventurers, huh?

“Because they are his vassals’ daughters, their standing would be lower than that of Amalie-sama. I suspect Margrave Breithilde-sama believes it to be also okay for you to usher them in even as concubines.”

“Hm───m, does it really matter?”

“Then I think it would be wise to pretend you have not realized anything. Just as I said earlier, I would be delighted if you two could give birth to many children.”

“That side’s okay. Right, Amalie-san?”

“I shall do my best.”

I feel sorry for those two girls, but since I have Amalie-san, I don’t need any other women. I’d be happy if they could do me the favor of going back to Breitburg after enjoying the party.

 

*   *   *

 

“…”

“Umm…Ina-…san. Those aren’t the true feelings of Earl-sama and Amalie. This whole situation and their thoughts are completely manipulated by magic tool’s functions.”

“…Ya───ay, Ina and I finally made an appearance…”

“Luise, you don’t need to force yourself to act cheerful.”

“Aren’t we still better off as we’ve at least met Wend inside the box’s world?”

“What’s going to happen to us? In that world, that is,” Katia asked.

 

It would take time to destroy the box. And since we used up our mana today, we returned to the mansion for the moment. That fool of a Beckenbauer couldn’t read the atmosphere as always, prattling about being able to research the box since it still hasn’t been destroyed, and connected it to the crystal ball. Once we took a peek, a lot of time had passed in the box’s world.

After becoming an adult, Earl-sama had a wedding ceremony with Amalie while receiving the heartfelt blessings of the knightdom’s residents. Ina and Luise finally showed up as representatives of Margrave Breithilde, but Earl-sama didn’t fall in love with either.

It’s terrible to watch, but in the end it was bound to happen like this because of the box’s function. Since it’d be a pain if the two went berserk after forgetting that part, I did my utmost to soothe both of them.

“I see. A similar world was created in another dimension while using the memories of the two captives as reference. Countess Ishlbarg is nothing short of a genius. Even I can’t best her.”

I’ve known this guy for a long time now, but his deafness in regard to reading the mood as a research nerd is the real deal for sure.

Elise and the other women are…scary as fuck!

Not noticing that…or deliberately pretending to not realize it…Beckenbauer, you’re a genuine retard!

“Umm…my legs already feel dead at this poi…no, forget I said anything…”

Well, you’re the criminal who brought this cursed box to Earl-sama, so yeah. At the very least I can’t tell you much more than hold out for a bit longer.

“Will I also appear in the world of the box?”

“Probably not. I mean, Wend won’t go to the capital in that world.”

“Figures. Even Ina-chan and I were brushed off like that…”

Ultimately, the world inside the box is an illusion, but Earl-sama impregnated Amalie and married her inside the knightdom. Since he won’t stay in the capital except for the peerage succession ceremony, it’s very likely that he won’t meet Elise.

“Everyone, we must destroy this box as quickly as possible.”

“I agree!”

“Me too!”

“Of course.”

“In the end, the world inside that box is no more than a dream. I think it’d be best to quickly wake them up.”

“That damned Amalie is looking so happy. How enviable…”

“Living a carefree life as love partners in a rural noble fief is a dream high-ranking nobles often see, isn’t it?”

“But, a dream still remains a dream. We’ll have hubby return to reality.”

Everyone was smiling, acting calm, and such, but that’s actually scary instead. If this dream continues for a month like this, it looks quite likely that Earl-sama won’t love anyone other than Amalie even if he leaves that box.

That damn Countess Ishlbarg has created an extremely cursed tool.

“Since it is as you can see, let us go to sleep early tonight to recover our mana.”

“I want to drink liquor tonight! And about tomorrow and the days after: I have other things planned!”

“All your plans are canceled. Tonight I shall brew you a nice herb tea that might suit your taste, dear Uncle. No, it should be very much to your liking, I am sure. Certainly you are not going to tell me that you are unhappy about that, right?”

“…I! I shall work hard until we can get Earl Baumeister out of the box!”

“As expected of you, dear Uncle. How very compassionate of you.”

For her to frighten even Doushi to such an extent… Elise must have snapped quite a bit this time.

“Burkhart-san, please take care of dropping us off, okay?”

“Okay…”

My job is to send everyone back home as they’ve expended all their mana. Would it be better to refuse that job? Even Doushi couldn’t talk back to Elise after seeing her smile that never reached her eyes. You think I’d be able to refuse here?

No, absolutely not! Something like that is too frightening!

The balance of the relationship between Earl-sama’s wives breaking apart because of the box would be way worse than a monster attack.

Milord, I won’t be able to return to Breitburg for a while. Once I get back, I’ll work without rest…no rest, huh…? Shit! Can’t that shitty box break right away!?

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“Amalie-san, what about Friedrich?”

“Since he’s sleeping properly, I’ve entrusted his care-taking to the maids.”

“Every once in a while that isn’t a bad idea either, is it?”

“Yes.”

 

Time passed slowly in a noble territory out in the countryside. After I married Amalie-san, Friedrich, my heir, was born, triggering Klaus and the residents to exaggeratedly congratulate us, saying things like, 『The stability of the Baumeister Knightdom has been secured with this!』.

I came to a patch of grassland inside my territory with Amalie-san to enjoy a picnic for today’s holiday. Given that Friedrich was still a baby, he had to stay back home for today.

We’ll bring him here once he grows a bit bigger.

After eating the bento Amalie-san had prepared for us, I had her give me a lap pillow. Because I was busy hunting and developing the territory every day, it wasn’t bad to spend time so leisurely every once in a while.

Doing things like this might not be very aristocratic, but we’re in a rural fief located at the southern border. This place has no people who’d find fault with each and every little thing we do.

“Wend-kun, you’re working so much every day.”

“True. But, it’s not that taxing.”

We’ve been extending the territory so that all the residents, who wanted fields, could be reliably provided with one. As you could definitely receive a field if you came to the Baumeister Knightdom, many people crossed the Greater League Mountains to immigrate, which likewise pulled over merchants and craftsmen aiming to make money off those immigrants.

It’d be endless if I were to aim for new heights and goals, but I didn’t really plan to do so. I’m going to spend my life like this, without having any purpose in particular, and once Friedrich grows up, he’ll inherit the fief, securing its continued existence.

Won’t it be just fine like this?

“The lap pillow is comfortable. Amalie-san, your lap is nicely soft.”

“Is it? I feel like my legs have become rather tough after starting to live here. I have to walk a lot after all.”

We’re in the countryside…and on top of that, this world doesn’t have cars or anything like that. Amalie-san is saying that her body got tough and muscular as she was walking around a lot every day, but it doesn’t really feel like that to me.

“I like to rest my head on your lap.”

“I see. Then I’ll let you do so until the sun goes down.”

“Thanks.”

“No, don’t mention it.”

The time spent alone by us two gently flowed along.

I’m sure this is what you call happiness.

 

 

*   *   *

 

“””””””””””…”””””””””””

“Earl Baumeister-dono sure seems to like stories like they’re often being read at the capital’s bookstores. Since he’s probably experiencing a lot of stress under normal circumstances, his idea of a slow life has taken shape in….ahem. I must record the data…”

 

“””””””””””Aaah!?”””””””””””

 

“What’s wrong everyone? This is a dream world, fiction. I’m telling you that it’s no more than an imaginary world created by referencing Earl Baumeister-dono and Amalie’s memories. Calm down a bit, will you?”

Beckenbauer, I beg you, can’t you shut your trap?

Or rather, I’d like you to finally give it a rest with the connection of the box and the crystal ball, showing the moving pictures of the imaginary world to Elise and the other girls. I know that you can’t read the mood, but don’t you feel the prickling bloodlust seeping out of the girls everyday?

 

 

 

No, even if he’s aware of it, he’s probably prioritizing his research anyway.

“Sensei looks like he’s having a blast…”

“Sensei and us won’t meet in that world, will we?”

“I hate that! Sensei, we’re going to save you at any cost!”

This box is quite troublesome. In spite of holding a huge destruction rally every day under the command of Elise and with Doushi participating, the box remains only getting burned a bit and having its scratch widened. At a glance, it looks like simple wood fragments have been joined together, but in reality it’s absurdly tough. I really have no clue whatsoever how this item of Countess Ishlbarg works.

“Really, I hate how the mood is down in the dumps.”

“We must make the one responsible for this feel the full extent of his failure.”

As if in response to Ina and Luise’s statements, everyone’s eyes simultaneously zoomed in on Erwin.

Certainly, it’s been Ervin who has brought this box into the mansion… Because of that, you could also say that this guy here is affected as well. Roderich’s mood is really bad as he can’t have Earl-sama work on public construction. Moreover, Roderich hasn’t asked Katharina, Lisa, Therese-sama, or the little girls to handle the work instead. That guy’s wisdom, or rather, drive to protect himself excels in such matters as well. After all, he’d experience a terrible time if he were to mention anything like that right now.

“Elise, what should we do?”

“I believe the fastest approach to have the box’s interior come in contact with the outside world would be to widen the scratch created by my dear Uncle’s 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』.”

Not a single person opposed this…in all honesty, her eyes not laughing at all is seriously scary… Something like objecting here would be equal to a death wish, I feel.

The other wives were also expressionless as they watched the images displayed on the crystal ball which that moron used under the pretense of collecting data for his research. Since Earl-sama and Amalie were flirting all by themselves, the mood of everyone was extremely bad.

If I imagine how this relationship between the two continued outside as well…

“Erwin! Put all your might into it and keep swinging your sword at the box!”

“Ehh? Why?”

“(Show some sincerity!)”

You’re in real danger right now. If Earl-sama starts to only favor Amalie after coming out of the box as an effect of that imaginary world… In the worst case, you’ll lose your place in the Baumeister House.

Now that it has come to this, we have to destroy the box as fast as possible to lower the effect of the box as much as possible.

“(An orichalcum sword might be able to destroy the box. Swing your sword at it, using all your power! Anyway, destroy the box!)”

“(Gotcha) Uooo───! Yaaa───!”

He apparently understood my explanation. Erwin secured the box on the ground after turning it so that the side with the scratch would point upwards, and began to single-mindedly swing his sword at the box.

“I feel like a bit got chipped away.”

“Erwin-san, please do your best!”

“Erw, this is the moment when you got to man up!”

“Go, Erw!”

“Do your best.”

“Swing your sword full of motivation!”

“It’s an impossible feat for my two blades, so show us your power.”

“Lisa, how is it going?”

“Because it’s a sword made out of orichalcum, it does have an effect. But, while that might be true, it’s chipping away only very small fragments…”

Accompanied by the women’s cheering, Erwin slashed his sword at the box’s cut over and over again, using all his power. It was just a bit, but I felt like the cut widened and deepened…

Only this much when using an orichalcum sword, huh…?

“Yep, this is going to take quite some time.”

“Haa…haa…haa…haa…I can’t swing my sword any more.”

“Erw-san, please take a short break.”

“Thanks, Elise.”

“Keep it short, however,” added Elise while passing tea to Erwin.

“Yes!”

Right now Erwin won’t be allowed any slack. So he has no choice but to earnestly swing his sword at the box in order to extend the cut. Well, it’s not like he can’t stop, but if it was me, I’d be too scared to do that.

“Uughh…let’s go, Betty, Cindy!”

“Sensei! Your cute pupils are going to rescue you, so wait for us!”

“We’re going to surround the box from three sides and attack it simultaneously!”

While Erwin was taking a break to catch a breath, Agnes, Betty, and Cindy surrounded the box and launched their magic at full force.

“””『Triangle Wind Cutter』!”””

Many scratches were added to the box by the huge wind blades they created, but unfortunately all of them were too shallow and wouldn’t be of any help in rescuing Earl-sama. It was pointless if they didn’t deepen the existing cut by hitting all wind blades at the same place, but the trio still didn’t possess the technical finesse to pull off something like that.

“Even though I got my hands on such a wonderful research object at last…ah, it’s nothing.”

Beckenbauer…read the mood, will you…!?

“We must do this together with all our power!”

“It’s going to be great magic training, too.”

Ina stabbed her spear, which she clad in flames, and Luise punched the box while pouring mana in her gloves all day long. Wilma tried to cut the box apart with her big battleax and Katia tried to enlarge the existing cut with her two rapiers. Katharina, Therese, and Lisa…hurled their magic at it with the intent to destroy it, but the day ended with the cut being widened and deepened a bit more.

“Even after getting repeatedly hit by my 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』, the damage only amounts to this much…”

“13,355th───! 13,356th───! No more…the muscles all over my body…I can’t put any strength into them anymore……I’ll do my best!”

Especially Erwin put in a lot of effort, but at this point it’s nothing that can be somehow handled within a few days. Erwin has been swinging his sword to the extent of feeling muscle pain as he’s frightened of Elise and the other women, but he hasn’t achieved the goal of opening up a hole in the box at all.

“It’s riddled with scratches, but I’m happy to see that the box is alright. After all, it’s a precious research object. I did tell you that it’d be best to obediently wait for a month.”

Beckenbauer, if you don’t want to die, you should never say that again. You’re really dense to no end.

 

*   *   *

 

“The number of fish has increased, but I can’t handle these earthworms.”

“I’ll add them to the hook, Amalie-san.”

“Oh, I got a bite!”

“Amalie-san, you’re really good at angling, aren’t you?”

“Sheesh, give it a rest and call me 『Amalie』 already, will you?”

“This is just a habit, you see? Usually I’m properly calling you 『Amalie』.”

“You’re really incorrigible, younger brother-in-law-kun.”

 

“Wend-kun, look.”

“They’ve bloomed so prettily.”

“Flowers are truly wonderful. In the past I didn’t have the leeway to plant any as the kitchen garden took priority.”

“Ah, now that you mention it. Next time we’ll buy seeds or seedlings of rare flowers in Breitburg.”

 

“Buying me such expensive clothes…I’d have been okay with something cheaper, you know?”

“Recently the fief’s development is proceeding well and we’ve got some financial leeway, so it’s no problem.”

“Thanks, Wend-kun.”

“Breitburg sure is a huge city, isn’t it?”

“Well, it belongs to the patron of many nobles who’s the leader of Helmut Kingdom’s south.”

“What should we do about the presents for the children?”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

One week after Earl-sama and Amalie got locked up inside the box.

The two have been living happily inside the box’s world. The development of the Baumeister Knightdom is proceeding well…though that’s only natural since he can use magic… Besides, since it’s the story of an imaginary world…he’s made many children with Amalie by now.

Occasionally Earl-sama heads out to Breitburg on business, but mostly he’s enjoying his life as lord of a rural fief. During his days-off, he goes on a picnic with his family or gathers produce in the forest. And as he also takes good care of his quality time with his wife, they’ve been having fun with gardening or going fishing. The two are the very picture of a close married couple and seem to be very happy.

“I see. This is quite the magic tool. In spite of having such a broad range of functions, it’s said that the noble houses of the Ancient Magic Civilization often went extinct, to be afterwards replaced by excellent commoners as new nobility. It seems the same also applied to Countess Ishlbarg.

“Difficulties surely exist in all ages. So, when will we be able to destroy the box?”

“You have continued to attack the box with Doushi’s 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』 for a whole week, and yet the box is still working. I think it’ll be impossible to destroy it.”

“What about your forecast of it requiring one week?”

“Forecasts are often wrong in the world of research.”

“Is that anything you should brag about!?”

Beckenbauer, who has been watching the imaginary world in the name of research, answered my questions.

Certainly, the box is covered with scratches and burns by now, and there’s one fairly deep cut among them, but it’s been operating without any particular problems.

“The two do look happy, but is there really any benefit for the magic tool research to be based on watching the daily life of a married couple that’s so happy that it makes anyone watching feel an itch?”

“I’ll only know if the gathered data will be of any use when the right time comes. You’re definitely not suited to be a researcher, Burkhart.”

“That’s why I became an adventurer, no?” Spending my days in the basement of the sorcery guild while doing research doesn’t fit with my character. “Anyway, enough about that. The mood of Elise and the other girls…”

They’ve been shown how Earl-sama and Amalie get along aaaaall the time… You’ve told them that they don’t need to come and watch it, but since you’re watching the two in your crystal ball…

Anyway, the mood of Earl-sama’s wives, including Agnes and the other two, is the worst. All the servants of the Baumeister House stay clear of them, except for the times when they have errands to run. You can truly call it a huge crisis for the Baumeister House.

“Beckenbauer-san, I am going to borrow the box.”

“Here you go.”

For the last few days, Elise has come to borrow the box every morning. And the plan to destroy it in the outskirts of Beulburg has transformed into a daily habit.

It looks like the residents of Baulburg are gossiping about some large-scale construction work in the outskirts because of the loud explosions of magic. Well, this territory has been developed thanks to the magic of Earl-sama and his family. It’s not all that weird for people to misunderstand it in such a way.

“Uoo───! I am putting all my might into this blow!”

Today, just like every day before, begins with Doushi launching a full-power attack. Because of Elise’s scariness, Doushi has been focusing on the destruction of the box without drinking a drop of booze. For him to not drink any alcohol for a week…things are very grave indeed.

However, even with Doushi using his 『Mobile Sorcery Armor』, the progress is negligible.

“Uooryaaa───!”

“Here I come!”

“Today for sure!”

Next Erwin, Ina, and Luise attacked the box with their respective weapons.

“It’s quite tough today as well.”

“Wilma-san, the softness does not change by the day.”

“Figures. Rather, if the box has days of softness, I’d like it to at least tell us.”

Wilma used her battleax, Katharina her converged 『Wind Cutter』, and Katia her two rapiers to hit the box. Even though they widened the box’s cut, they didn’t quite manage to reach all the way inside the box.

“Now that it has come to this, 『Inferno』!”

“Extreme blizzard 『Deadly Cold Wave』!”

First Therese engulfed the box in scorching hot flames, and then Lisa immediately covered the box with a spell of intense freezing. They tried to weaken the box’s integral structure by exposing it to a drastic change in temperature over a very short time, but Countess Ishlbarg’s work remained completely unfazed.

“Sensei! We haven’t been able to see you for a whole week!”

“It’s unfair to spend all your time with Amalie-san!”

“Breaaaa───k!”

The pupil trio also launched magic in succession, but as always, the box stayed unperturbed.

Of course the number of burns and scratches had increased, but I believe everyone understood during this week that those wouldn’t lead to Earl-sama’s release.

“So hard!”

“Maybe, we’re, like, still lacking training?”

“I’m already out of mana.”

With the attacks by the three girls, today’s attack on the box came to an end. Because everyone had been unleashing their magic against the box at full power, they became quite skilled during the last seven days, but the box displayed a sturdiness that seemed to sneer at their efforts.

“Maybe we have no choice but to wait for a month at this rate?”

“Even I don’t just observe the world inside the box by reflecting it on the crystal ball every day. I’ve been properly researching ways to open this box. But, it’s extremely difficult.”

“So there’s a method to open it.”

“Of course. You can make the sides of the box slide like this, but there exists an almost infinite amount of possibilities on the order and level of sliding. It’s a fatal flaw that we don’t have the instructions telling us how to do it.”

“So there’s even something like written instructions.”

“From the beginning, this is a magic tool with a clear intended use, so it’s only logical. Obviously it’d be equipped with a way to open it in case of emergencies.”

However, this box had been excavated from a ruin, and thus its instructions were missing, resulting in our current suffering on how to rescue Earl-sama and Amalie.

“Sliding the box’s sides…oh, it’s true! This moves!”

Luise was surprised by its design as she actually made the box’s sides slide. Thanks to that function, Earl-sama and Amalie got locked up inside the box because they coincidentally opened it, but…even though she had attacked the box with her Magic Combat Style at full throttle all the time, she didn’t notice this feature?

“It won’t open even if you slide the sides, huh?”

“We wouldn’t be in such a bind if you could open the box by making any of the sides slides, would we? The box has six sides, so if it requires two steps, you’re facing 36 possibilities, if it requires three steps, you’re facing 216 possibilities, and if it requires four steps, you’re already facing 1296 possibilities. Most likely it shouldn’t open unless you perform at least ten steps…”

Since you have to pass the 6 possibilities more than ten times, it’ll be at least six by the power of 10, huh…? Moreover, since you can’t check whether you’ve slided the correct sides in the correct order by yourself, you must carry out all combinations in order. A month would be anything but enough for doing that. Moreover, we know that you need to do more than ten steps, but it’s still not clear how many steps are required.

Beckenbauer saying that 『we have no choice but to wait for a month』 follows a logic in a certain sense, I suppose.

“Is that so…?”

Speaking of the possibility to open the box through its regular opening procedure if destroying the box is too difficult, the chance for success is extremely low.

Having understood that, Elise finally stopped her scary smile that never reached her eyes.

“Another three weeks…”

“Just how much time is going to pass inside the box?”

“Moreover, the two will be lovey-dovey all the time. That’s already leaps and bounds beyond being dangerous!”

“Wend-sama might start to have only eyes for Amalie-san.”

“Even after realizing that it was a dream once he leaves the box, the relationship between the two will already be…right?”

“Shouldn’t thee grope for solutions on how to open this box instead of observing what’s going on inside, as researcher of the sorcery guild? Didn’t thee understand just how much support thee received from Wendelin?”

“Aa───h! Break it already, will you, Beckenbauer-san!”

“As can be expected, with my mana…destroying a magic tool made by Countess Ishlbarg…”

“Won’t we be unable to become sensei’s wifes at this rate?”

“Ee───h! I don’t want tha───at!”

“Aa───h, sheesh, if only I could get into the box!”

Elise, Agnes, and all the others couldn’t do much more than lament at the current situation which they couldn’t change at this point. And even as they were bickering, Beckenbauer continued watching the life of Earl-sama and Amalie with an innocent look while recording everything.

This guy is a genuine researcher, really.

“Even though it’d be no problem if you wait for a month since the two will come out at that point…look, you can slide the six sides of the box like this, but if you make a single mistake, you have to do it all over again. You don’t know whether moving a certain side was correct or wrong either. Opening the box through the regular procedure under these circumstances would be close to a miracle. I’m a researcher, so I naturally follow logical theories. Even if you become all emotional here, it can’t be helped, can it?”

“””””””””””…”””””””””””

Elise and the others quiet down upon hearing Beckenbauer’s just reasoning.

“It’s fine as long as you understand. This box won’t open that easily. In reality, I’ve been continuing to randomly slide the sides, but in the first place, this combination isn’t corr…”

As Beckenbauer randomly moved the sides around while admonishing Elise and the others, pure-white smoke suddenly enveloped the box. Once it cleared up, it revealed Earl-sama and Amalie-san, fallen on their backsides.

“Huh? I was with Amalie-san… Ah! It was all a dream!?”

“Looks like it. But why did something like that happen?”

It looks like Beckenbauer ended up opening the box through yet another freak chance. Even though his research is usually weird at best, only limited to times like this…it’s really so typical of this guy.

“Dear?”

“It appears I had a long dream, but did the box cause this?”

“Forgive me, Wend-kun. Because I carelessly played around with the box…”

“You aren’t at fault, Amalie-san. After all, I’d have likely fiddled around with the box even if you hadn’t touched it at all. Besides, it wasn’t a bad dream either.”

“You got a point there. But, in the end it led to the same outcome, huh?”

“Putting it like that, you’re right, I think.”

Certainly, I suppose Earl-sama has extensively expanded his fief with magic in the real world and the box’s imaginary world. This box is truly a well-made magic tool.

“Earl Baumeister-dono.”

“Beckenbauer-san? What’s wrong?”

“Going by my analysis of the box, this whole situation has been a moratorium given to you by God, telling you that you should occasionally forget about worldly matters and enjoy a dream.”

“You believe in God, Beckenbauer-san?”

“Just a bit. There are moments when I feel like praying to God. Well, although it might have been a coincidence, I, who opened this box, might be a genius, though not at Countess Ishlbarg’s level, mind you. Isn’t that great for you, Earl Baumeister-dono’s wives?”

“””””””””””…”””””””””””

“Is something the matter?”

Yep, I’ve fully understood now. Beckenbauer is an idiot in regards to everything that has nothing to do with magic research. Moreover, an extraordinary one at that.

Beckenbauer bears absolutely no responsibility for this incident. And yet he’s drawn the full anger of Elise and the others on himself thanks to his way of talking and acting.

Once I took a quick look, Erwin had already disappeared. He had quickly fled the scene to not get dragged into the carnage of Elise and the others while thanking Beckenbauer for willingly volunteering to take the brunt of it.

Doushi is gone as well, huh…? Well, Doushi has always been that kind of guy.

“I’ve heard about it only recently, but it sounds like Mizuho has a proverb stating, 『Adversity strengthens the foundation』. Thanks to this incident, Elise-dono and the other wives will deepen their bond with Earl Baumeister-dono, and Amalie-dono managed to become much closer to Earl Baumeister-dono, too. Isn’t this box a wonderful item? Alright, I’ll do my utmost to make a reproduction of this possible. I’ll strive for it as much as my magic crest research.”

“Have you finished saying everything you wanted to say with this?”

“I must analyze all the data I gathered as quickly as possible. That’s all.”

Just now I felt like a freezing wind blew through Baulburg which has been somewhat hot these days. If I stay here any longer, my life will be in danger as well. Let’s get out of here at once.

 

◆◇◆

 

“Burkhart, I feel like this world is completely irrational.”

“Well, the trick for a successful life is to skilfully avoid that irrationality.”

When I went to the sorcery guild for business the next day, a great amount of red hand prints adorned Beckenbauer’s cheeks, but I intentionally pretended to not notice any of them.

 

*   *   *

 

“…”

“What’s up, Wend?”

“I’ve hunted monsters with everyone after a long time, but…”

 

I was locked up inside a box, said to have been created by Countess Ishlbarg, for a week due to an unexpected accident, but the world inside that box wasn’t all that bad. The instant I came out of the box, I comprehended that it all had been a dream, but I agree with Amalie-san’s assessment of it 『not having been bad』.

Did our relationship grow deeper? Who knows?

My relationship with her has been very good even before that. I don’t think it has changed much, regardless of the box. Amalie-san said the same as well.

After the incident, I’ve gone out hunting monsters with everyone, as a form of apology.

“I feel like Elise, who doesn’t even fight, has raised her mana, but…haven’t all of you become stronger?”

“Yeah, it’s because they trained by taking on that sturdy box…”

Just what is that Erw saying? There’s no way that such a small box, which can’t even move about, would be any good as a training partner, is there?

“Mothers sure are tough. They aren’t here today, but it looks like Agnes, Betty, and Cindy have also absorbed most of my teachings. I’m looking forward to their future.”

“Man…in a certain sense, you really become a goof when you feel great.”

“Haah? I’m not really goofy or anything, dude. Though it’s not like I’m claiming to be a shrewd guy either.”

Just as I wondered what Erw was suddenly talking about… Come to think of it, Amalie-san mentioned that she wants another child, so I must think about it soon. After all, Amalie-san and I are on very intimate terms.

 

 

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Translation Notes:

  1. I adjusted gender and name a bit from its previous appearances earlier in the series

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  1. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 18 – Chapter 4: The Elopement Box and the Two’s What-if – Part 1 »

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